Jochen Rindt

Jochen Rindt

18/4/1942 - 5/9/1970

Karl Jochen Rindt was born in 1942. His father was German and his mother Austrian. His parents died under Allied bombing in 1943 and Rindt grew up with his grandparents in Graz , Austria. An heir to a German spice fortune, his win came in 1962 in Aspern when his Alfa Romeo Giulia TI beat the over 3 liter Jaguars in a saloon car race. He bought the Conrero prepared car from Ossi Vogl, an Alfa dealer in Graz, who promised him free technical support provided he did reasonably well with it.

He raced an uncompetitive Formula Junior Cooper in 1963 but did quite well with it. This brought him to the attention of Ford of Austria who backed him in a F2 Brabham-Cosworth in 1964. With this car he burst onto the international scene with a 2nd at Mallory Park and a win in the F2 London Trophy at Crystal Palace beating the likes of Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Denny Hulme. These performances propelled him into the Formula One arena and the following year he signed for the Cooper works team.

1965 was not altogether without wins. Though he didn't win in F1 he did win the Austrian Sports Car Grand Prix in Zeltweg in a Ferrari 250 LM ahead of Mike Parkes in a Ferrari 365 P2 and he won the Prix du Tyrol at Innsbruck in an Abarth 2000. He shared a works Porsche 8 with Bonnier in the Nurburgring 1,000 Kilometers to finish 3rd, then at Le Mans with Masten Gregory, he drove the NART entered Ferrari 250LM to victory, becoming the first Austrian to win Le Mans. he also continued to race in Formula 2 starting a long relationship with Roy Winkelmann.

In 1966 there were once again no wins in F1 but at Sebring Jochen won in an Alfa GTA.

By 1967 he had established himself at the top of Formula 2, taking his Winkelmann Brabham to nine victories. And his reputation as a fearless driver grew after crashing in qualifying at Indianapolis in an Eagle. He stepped out of the burning car as it came to rest. He was taken to the trackside medical centre for a compulsory medical examination where his heart-rate was found to be perfectly normal. In the race he retired and later described the race as 'a place for making money, no more...'

Jochen Rindt was hard on his machinery, particularly in his early days. He gained a reputation particularly during the three years with Cooper where he tried keep up with drivers that he routinely beat in Formula 2 even thought they were in superior machinery. Either the car broke or he finished near the front. However his three year stint with Cooper produced promise and dramatic driving but no wins. He reportedly once said to Roy Salvadori who was his team manager at Cooper "The most charming thing about you is your wife."

In 1968 Jochen switched to the Brabham-Repco squad, but his season was blighted by technical problems.
Jochen Rindt seemed to have been extremely hard on his machinery, to say the least, particularly in his early days. He gained this reputation particularly during the three years with Cooper where he tried very hard to keep up with competition in superior cars, people which he would defeat routinely in Formula II events. Either the car broke or he put it somewhere near the very front by the end of the race. he had now been in Formula 1 for 4 years and had yet to win his first race.

At the end of the year Rindt signed with Team Lotus. Finally his career took off and Rindt clinched the first Grand Prix victory of his career in the Grand Prix of the USA in Watkins Glen. However the race was marred by Graham Hill's crash. Hill was thrown from his car and suffered two broken legs. Rindt finished that year with 22 points, giving him fourth place in the World Drivers Championship. Following Graham Hill's accident, Jochen became team leader for Lotus in 1970 and his season started with a dramatic last corner win at Monaco. Thereafter armed with one of the greatest Formula one cars of all time, the Lotus 72, Rindt won four more Grands Prix: Dutch, French, British and German, that year.

The pressure had begun to tell and when he went to Monza for the Italian GP, he had already decieded to quit at the end of the season. He was talking about setting up a sports clothing business.

However during practice for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, near Milan, he lost control of his under braking for the Parabolica, possibly caused by a disc failure, and his car turned left, straight into and under the barriers which were placed too high for the revolutionary wedge design of his Lotus 72. He was rushed to hospital, but died on the way. Rindt had only recently agreed to wear a simple lap belt, and had slid underneath where the belt buckle cut his throat. Because Rindt had won five of that year's ten Grands Prix, his lead in the World Drivers Championship had become unassailable, and Rindt became motor racing's first and, to date, only posthumous World Champion.

On September 5, 2000 a bronze plate was unveiled at the entrance to his childhood home, Ruckerlberggürtel 16 , in the presence of Nina and Natascha Rindt.

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